The Hairy Dog, Derby
Expect the unexpected, thats the way to go. Not being familiar with Derby, the Hairy Dog is the sort of 300 capacity dark venue seen in most cities featuring posters of angry metal acts and aging punk outfits, but `70`s Doowop legends Darts?, surely not!
But oh yes, heres Griff Fender still looking sharp and trying to maintain order, resplendent in peacock green is Rita Ray for whom time has appeared to have stopped still and then, the looming figure of the mighty Den Hegarty here to cause chaos just for you.
After the instrumental opening its straight in to Come Back My Love to get the room shaking before diving into deep cuts Mainliner and Destination Love. Back to the hits with Its Raining and Duke of Earl and from the first album, Young Blood and Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart before Den disappears into the audience for I`m Mad/Framed/Cell Block No 9. To round off the evening we get The Boy From New York City and Daddy Cool before being the apt encore of Gotta Go Home.
Younger than I expected. We ended down the front with Steph “Darts” Homer and Donna and Ruby, fresh from seeing them in Leeds the night before, massive Darts fans one and all, hats duly doffed in respect. The good natured audience had probably the best Saturday night out in a long time.
It made me think..
Darts dont seem to have hitched up to the heritage trail like their peers. Their intinery is only 8 gigs this year so I suppose each one is a special event. They are still in good voice and with an excellent back catalogue to go at could fill a venue four or five times the size. Remember they emerged at the height of punk but never descended into parody so still have their credibility intact… and they have Den Hegarty! Doowop in the 2022`s, Yes please.